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Best Practices for Local Delivery with Square Online

Your Square Online ordering page is a critical hub for your business. When you drive pickup and local delivery orders directly to your Square Online ordering page, you avoid the high commissions charged by third-party marketplaces, while gaining valuable data on every order that you can use to build stronger customer relationships.

Considering the high brand awareness of third-party marketplaces and the abundance of competing restaurants, promoting your direct local delivery channels of In-House Delivery or On-Demand Delivery can seem daunting. With this comprehensive article, you can learn how to increase traffic to your online ordering page so business remains directly between you and your customers.

Leverage Your Delivery Settings, Features, and Fees

What you charge for delivery plays an important part in how often customers order directly from you instead of using delivery apps or ordering from your competitors. Maximize your order volume while protecting your profits by setting up your delivery settings, features, and fees to work for you.

Cover a dollar amount of the delivery fee

If you use On-Demand Delivery, covering part of the delivery fee is a great way to encourage customers to order directly from you. We recommend covering a consistent dollar amount to more accurately budget for the business expense.

To cover a dollar amount of your customers’ Square Online On-Demand Delivery orders:

  1. From your Square Online Overview page, go to Fulfillment > Pickup & Delivery.
  2. Add your location if you haven’t already, or select Set up location or Edit by the location you want to edit.
  3. Edit the Delivery settings and make sure you choose On-Demand Delivery as your delivery method.
  4. Under “Delivery & service fees,” choose how much of the delivery fee you and/or your customers will pay.
  5. Select Save when finished.

Charge a service fee 

If you plan to cover all or part of the delivery fee for In-House Delivery or On-Demand Delivery, consider offsetting that cost with a service fee. Customers tend to respond positively to low delivery fees, and since service fees are grouped with taxes at checkout, customers may be less price-sensitive to them. Remember that 100% of service fees go to you.

To add a service fee to your customers’ Square Online local delivery orders:

  1. From your Square Online Overview page, go to Fulfillment > Pickup & Delivery.
  2. Add your location if you haven’t already, or select Set up location or Edit by the location in question.
  3. Edit the Delivery settings.
  4. Under “Delivery & service fees,” toggle the service fee option on and enter the amount desired to offset the cost of the incurred local delivery fee.
  5. Select Save when finished.

Offer free delivery on orders over a certain amount

Encourage your customers to buy more from you by using free delivery as an incentive for larger In-House Delivery or On-Demand Delivery orders. To set up this option:

  1. From your Square Online Overview page, go to Fulfillment > Pickup & Delivery.
  2. Add your location if you haven’t already, or select Set up location or Edit by the location in question.
  3. Edit the Delivery settings.
  4. Under “Delivery & service fees,” toggle on the option to pay the full delivery fee for orders over a certain amount and enter the amount.
  5. Select Save when finished.

Set a minimum order amount

If you plan to cover part or all of your customers’ delivery fees (especially for On-Demand Delivery), set a minimum delivery amount to make sure you aren’t offering delivery at a loss. To set up a minimum order amount:

  1. From your Square Online Overview page, go to Fulfillment > Pickup & Delivery.
  2. Add your location if you haven’t already, or select Set up location or Edit by the location in question.
  3. Edit the Delivery settings.
  4. Toggle the Minimum order amount option on and enter in your amount.
  5. Select Save when finished.

Manage delivery orders effectively

Although it’s best to manage your delivery orders within Square, you still have additional options for managing On-Demand Delivery orders with DoorDash.

DoorDash offers a self-serve portal that provides you additional information, and allows you to view and fully manage your DoorDash orders. You can access the portal at doordash.com/drive. Checkout DoorDash’s Portal Walkthrough & How-To for additional instructions.

Actions available in the Portal:

  • Add delivery information
  • Reschedule the order
  • Cancel the order
  • Block or prefer a dasher: Allows a you to rate the dasher, and either increase the number of orders going to them (preferred status), or block them from taking future orders (blocked status).
  • View confirmation photos: Each dasher takes a photo of their no-contact delivery completion.

Available information for completed orders:

  • Customer name and information
  • Order number
  • Dasher name and status (normal, preferred, or blocked)
  • Pickup timestamp
  • Delivery timestamp

Create a delivery promo code

Encourage your customers to try your direct delivery service by offering them discount coupons on their first order with an exclusive promo code. You can set up online coupons from your Square Online Overview page in Items > Coupons or Shared Settings > Coupons.

Learn more about creating coupons in Square Online.

Create a Successful Experience with Your Online Menu 

Without in-person staff to explain the menu, your customers will need additional, personalized support to ensure they choose the perfect meal from home, and that it gets to their destination just as the chef intended.

Focus on visual appeal

When customers dine in, they can smell and see your food. With online ordering, you need to bring your virtual menu to life and tempt customers with eye-catching food photography instead. Include high-quality images of each menu item and ensure your dishes closely resemble these when they’re delivered to customers.

To add images of your menu items on your website:

  1. From your Square Online Overview page, go Items > Site Items.
  2. Select an item from your list or add a new item by selecting Create new item.
  3. Under Media, add images to your item.
  4. Complete all other edits to your item and select Save when finished.

Learn more about product images in Square Online.

Write clear and compelling descriptions

Online customers can’t question your staff as they can in your restaurant, so be sure to write clear descriptions of your dishes. List key ingredients alongside food restrictions and allergy warnings so that customers feel confident about placing their orders.

Changes to item descriptions sync between Square Online and your Square Item Library with item sync. You can disable item description sync in order to use rich text styling (e.g. bold, italics, and bulleted or numbered lists) in the item description editor to make your descriptions even clearer and easier to read.

To disable description sync between Square Online and your Square Item Library:

  1. From your Square Online Overview page, go to Items > Item Sync or Shared Settings > Item Sync.
  2. Under “Custom sync settings,” toggle off Sync item descriptions.

Learn more about selling food and drinks in Square Online.

Organize your menu with food categories

Make it easy for your customers to find what they’re looking for with categories. For example, you can divide your menu into starters, mains, desserts, sides, and drinks. You can also consider adding extra categories for food types such as meat, fish, and vegetarian to signal you can accommodate a broad range of customers.

To create a site category:

  1. From your Square Online Overview page, go to Items > Site Categories.
  2. Select Add Category.

Learn more about adding items and categories to Square Online.

Share your food safety measures

Many people are being more vigilant about health and safety. Be really clear about the range of measures your restaurant is taking to ensure safety when preparing and delivering food. For example, it might be that all of your delivery drivers wear masks and gloves. You could display this information as a banner on all or selected pages of your website, potentially with a link to further details.

Learn more about popups and adding text to your Square Online site so that your safety information is clearly visible and accessible to your customers.

Consider your packaging

Choose packaging that keeps your food as fresh as possible. For example, baked goods might require airtight containers, frozen meals likely need insulated packaging with refrigerant, and foods that bruise easily might need tight padding. Take this into consideration when you’re adapting your menu primarily for pickup and/or local delivery. Prioritize food that won’t require too much custom packaging, which can be expensive.

Offer dishes that travel well

Your customers will likely expect that the images of your food they see online look similar to the delivery orders that arrive at their doors. Your best bet is to choose dishes that can hold their shape when they travel.

If an order does require some assembly on the customer’s part, include directions and guidance in their delivery order to make sure your customers are still having a great experience with your cuisine (even at home). You can also add this information to your website.

Recreate experiences

As more customers turn to pickup and local delivery, they can long for the holistic experience of full-service dining. In addition to your standard online menu, consider crafting custom or prix-fixe menus around certain themes or nights of the week (e.g. date-night menu, movie-night menu, etc.) to help make dining at home feel more special or festive.

To set up menus based on certain days and times, try using time-based categories. Learn more about time-based categories in Square Online.

Drive Awareness of Your Square Online Ordering Page

One of the major barriers to restaurants increasing their direct online ordering traffic is a lack of customer awareness of the ordering options available to them. Many customers might also be in the habit of ordering from familiar third-party marketplaces without considering the commissions that are charged to the restaurant. The good news is that you already have a number of marketing channels available that you can use to educate and make customers aware of your direct delivery service.

Add or claim your Google Business Profile

Make your online ordering page easy to find on Google Search and Maps. One way to ensure your customers know they can order directly from you is to update your Google Business Profile and include a direct link to your Square Online ordering page. Learn how to add or claim your Google Business Profile, and how to set your preferred link in the Google support center.

Once you’ve claimed your Google Business Profile, and are actively accepting pickup and/or local delivery orders from your published Square Online ordering page, your site will be automatically integrated with Order with Google to help you maximize direct orders. Learn more about increasing food orders on Square Online using Order with Google.

On-site pop-ups and banners

Make your delivery offering hard to miss right on your website. Create an information banner that automatically pops up on-screen when customers visit your online ordering page. Use the popup banner to communicate delivery details, special promotions, or other important announcements.

To add a popup to your site, go to your Square Online Overview page and select Communications > Pop-Ups. Learn more about adding pop-ups to Square Online.

Email and text message marketing

Email and text message marketing are great ways to make your existing customers aware of your direct delivery offering. Consider sending a campaign in advance of a major sporting event, holiday, or other seasonal moment promoting your business, or a monthly newsletter updating customers on your latest menu items and offers.

Square Marketing is an easy-to-use marketing tool that seamlessly integrates with Square Online, and can help you launch your own promotional campaign to drive more local delivery orders. Beyond one-time campaigns, you can set up automated emails and texts that deploy at specific milestones in a customer’s lifecycle (think birthdays, first purchase, abandoned cart, and lapsed customers). You can even enhance your message with a special online promo code. Learn more about getting started with Square Marketing and creating coupons in Square Online.

Add and update your review site profiles

Many customers look to reviews to discover and decide where to order. Making sure you have claimed these profiles and that the content is updated is crucial to directing traffic to your direct online ordering channel. Use this as an opportunity to promote your Square Online ordering page and delivery service. Ensure that your website URL is also updated.

Some top platforms include:

  • Yelp
  • Foursquare
  • Tripadvisor
  • Facebook

Point dine-in customers to your online ordering page

Your in-store operations provide a useful platform to generate awareness among customers who already love your food. You can use a QR code for your Square Online site that’ll take customers to your site’s homepage. You can print out and include the QR code in pickup and local delivery orders, on your checkout counter, or anywhere else you think it might help increase your traffic.

To use a QR code for your Square Online site:

  1. From your Square Online Overview page, go to Website > Site Preferences.
  2. Under Site QR Code, select Manage QR Code.
  3. Choose to either Export QR Code or Print ordering card.

Note: Your site must be published to use the QR code.

Check out the Square ProShop, which makes it easy to design and order print materials (like QR codes) at the best prices.

Expand Your Presence on Social Media 

Social media is another touchpoint where you can inform and interact with your customers. Ensure you have a direct link to your online ordering page on your Instagram or Facebook profile pages to give customers another way to access your business online. Download the social media toolkit below to help you get started.

Download the social media toolkit >

Allow orders from your social media profiles

With food ordering buttons directly on your Facebbok and Instagram business profiles, customers will only be a tap away from placing a direct order right from your pages. Learn more about adding food ordering buttons to your profiles with Facebook Food Ordering.

Drive awareness with content

While much of what you post on social media should showcase your menu, you can also use it as a channel to drive awareness of your direct ordering options. Square created a toolkit of ready-to-post social media images to alert your customers of the benefits of ordering directly from you. Download the social media toolkit linked above which includes formats for both story and newsfeed posts.

Tips for posting:

  • Since story posts refresh daily, you can repost these promotional images more frequently to ensure your followers have the chance to view the post.
  • For both in-feed and story posts, you can add your own text caption to customize the information your followers see. For example, you can remind your followers of your website URL or that they can find the link in your profile’s bio.

Create Promotions and Incentives

Encouraging your loyal customers to order directly from you can be easy to do, but competing with third-party delivery apps with massive consumer awareness and promotional engines can pose quite a challenge. While not an easy task, there are simple ways to encourage customers to order directly from you.

Promo codes and discounts

Offer customers an exclusive discount for ordering directly from you. Consider sharing a promo code for your online ordering site via email or as a coupon placed inside order packaging.

For local delivery, offer your customers free delivery with coupons that automatically remove the delivery charge from your customer’s order total. This is a great way to encourage first-time orders on your site. You can also limit the number of uses per customer for this coupon type (like offering free delivery for first-time orders only).

Learn more about creating coupons in Square Online.

Exclusive menu items and pricing

While there may still be value in having your restaurant listed on third-party apps, consider how you can make your direct offering more attractive to customers by including exclusive menu offerings only available on your direct ordering page. 

To insulate margins, restaurants commonly increase their prices on third-party marketplaces. Offering lower prices via your direct ordering channel can encourage customers to order directly from you for a more affordable meal. To create exclusive menu offerings, learn more about offering hidden items in Square Online.

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